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Democrat Roy Cooper Declares Victory as Voters Dump GOP Gov. Pat McCrory – Race Too Close to Call

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Anti-LGBT Law HB2 Reportedly Cost State Billions

North Carolina first-term Republican Governor Pat McCrory appears to have lost his re-election bid over his anti-LGBT law HB2. Roy Cooper, the state’s Democratic attorney general who refused to defend HB2 in court, has declared victory, but the election has not been certified. Less than 4000 votes separate them.

Cooper is up about 4000 votes over McCrory. Recent polls were not in McCrory’s favor. 

The gubernatorial race in the Tar Heel State has been one of the most hotly contested of the election cycle, and it could be one with far-reaching impact.

Cooper and McCrory have sparred over several issues for the past few months, with Cooper slamming McCrory’s record on healthcare, economic issues, the environment, and of course, HB2.

HB2 voided LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances throughout the state. It attacks transgender citizens by revoking their right to use public restrooms based on gender identity. It also mandates that only state lawmakers can pass laws regulating employment discrimination, the use of public accommodations, and minimum wages – removing the right of self determination from every town and city across the state.

HB2

The full economic impact of HB2 is not yet known, but an estimate from the Williams Institute expects the state to lose almost $5 billion a year as long as HB2 is in effect. This does not include court costs for the legal battle surrounding the anti-LGBT bill which made international headlines.

As the state’s attorney general, it would generally be assumed it would be his job to defend the state’s actions when they are taken to court. But Cooper chose not to defend HB2, leaving McCrory to defend the law himself and seek outside legal help. This gives the state responsibility for paying lawyers instead of allowing Cooper to take their side in the suit.

McCrory didn’t take kindly to Cooper’s decision, and has continued to defend HB2 despite its growing unpopularity in the state. While neither campaign site even mentions the issue, it’s a deciding factor in the race.

A Public Policy report from May shows just 35% of the state in favor of the law.

NC Republicans are embarrassed by HB2, so much so that they tried to interfere when the Charlotte Observer hosted a forum about the issue which featured neither gubernatorial candidate. A letter to the NC Board of Elections the week of the forum called the discussion a campaign event, in spite of the forum featuring both people in favor of and people opposed to HB2.

Healthcare

North Carolina is one of 19 states that has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Cooper not only slams the state on his website, he points to his past involvement in health care policy, including a lawsuit filed against Carolinas Healthcare System, the largest network in the state, for putting contract requirements in place to limit competition with other healthcare systems and push costs higher.

McCrory, on the other hand, privatized the state’s Medicaid system last year, contracting three companies to offer plans for people on Medicaid and allowing for 10 networks to work through regional plans. This handed a significant part of the state’s healthcare system to the free market.

Cooper’s position puts him at an advantage with issue voters, as Public Policy Polling showed that 72% of voters would back an expansion of Medicaid to cover the gap between the current program and the ACA.

Economy

One of McCory’s proudest talking points was that his economic plans have been good for the state. He has pointed to the state’s growing GDP and population as a sign that his economics have worked. Politifact rated his claim true, using only GDP as an economic indicator in April of 2016, before the economic impact of HB2 was entirely obvious.

However, according to NC Policy Watch, the GDP is not the only thing that matters. The labor market has not improved under McCrory and the state’s average weekly pay is about $80 less than the national average.

Cooper is against lowering only corporate taxes, and wants to focus on increasing income for people in the workforce. His campaign website says that under McCrory’s direction the state is “the butt of jokes for late night comedy” and calls this “self-sabotage.” 

Environment

Roy Cooper’s campaign focused heavily on environmental issues, touting his support for the Clean Smokestacks Act, which requires companies to cut down on emissions.

Meanwhile, McCrory attempted to create jobs by cutting back environmental regulations with HB74.

A defining difference between the two politicians came after a Duke Energy pipe malfunctioned, spilling thousands of tons of coal ash into the Dan River. McCrory attacked Cooper for fighting cleanup efforts, but there was no evidence of Cooper actually doing so. Cooper fired back by pointing out that a leading state scientist had already accused McCrory of lying to the public about the Duke Energy spill.

McCrory worked for Duke Energy for 29 years prior to his political career.

Voting Rights

Cooper’s campaign website highlights his plan to make voting more accessible to everyone. He opposes voter ID laws and wants to reinstate same-day registration.

McCrory has ink on his face after his administration’s voter ID laws were found by a court to be racially discriminatory. The Supreme Court split 4-4 on the issue, which let stand the lower court’s ruling and stopped the practice of requiring the type of ID that was needed from NC voters.  

These issues led to an apparent Cooper victory. Polls in the race have been tight for months, but Cooper had been the favorite for the last month of the race.

 

Images:
Pat McCrory via Wikimedia
Roy Cooper via Facebook

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‘Jan. 6 Wasn’t a Fantasy’: Top Missouri Paper Says It’s ‘Long Past Time’ for Senate to Investigate Josh Hawley

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On Sunday, the editorial board of the St Louis Post-Dispatch called on the U.S. Senate Ethics Panel to investigate Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) over any possible involvement he may have had in the Jan 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Hawley, whose political future will be haunted by a photo of him giving a raised fist to insurrectionists as they stormed the halls of Congress has been excoriated by the paper’s editors multiple times, but Sunday’s call for an investigation ramps up their attacks on the home state senator.

According to the board, “Ten months after a group of Senate Democrats lodged ethics complaints into the conduct of Republican Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas regarding their roles in sparking the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the Senate Ethics Committee has shown no sign of movement.,” with the editors saying it is “long past time” to take a hard look at both Republican senators.

“Jan. 6 wasn’t a fantasy; it was real, and the culpability of these two senators must be determined,” they wrote. “Hawley and Cruz were the only two senators to object to certification of Joe Biden’s clear victory in the 2020 election results, citing (with zero evidence) supposed concerns about the election’s integrity. That was the same baseless, toxic nonsense then-President Donald Trump had been spewing since before the election. Such talk whipped up the mob of Trump loyalists to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6.”

Related: Lauren Boebert needs to be subpoenaed to explain her ‘violent revolution’ Jan 6th tweets: MSNBC contributor

Adding, “Even after the violence, he persisted in voting with just five other senators to continue promoting Trump’s big lie that Biden’s win was illegitimate,” the editors wrote, “If he had an ounce of honor, he’d have heeded our Jan. 7 call for his resignation (we certainly weren’t alone on that). But at this point, why even talk about honor?”

Writing that, “Just because there’s a mechanism in place allowing senators to object to election results doesn’t mean it’s OK for Hawley to abuse that process for crass political gain,” the editorial concluded, “Hawley and Cruz have the right to defend themselves from the allegations — but so far, they haven’t even had to. The Ethics Committee should stop sitting on this.”

You can read the whole piece here.

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HYPOCRISY ALERT

‘Hang on a Minute’: Chuck Todd Confronts GOP Governor Who Wants ‘Liberty’ for Vaccines but Not for Abortion

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NBC host Chuck Todd on Sunday challenged Gov. Tate Reeves (R-MS) over his push to deny abortion rights for women while insisting that people should have control over their own bodies when it comes to vaccines.

During an interview on Meet the Press, Todd noted that Reeves had recently championed “freedom and individual liberty” when it comes to vaccine mandates.

“Why should the state of Mississippi tell a woman what they should do with their body?” Todd asked. “Why shouldn’t they have that individual freedom on their body particularly in the first 20 weeks [of pregnancy].”

“The far left loves to scream ‘my body, my choice,'” Reeves replied. “And what I would submit to you, Chuck, is you absolutely ignore the fact that in getting an abortion, there is an actual killing of an innocent unborn child that is in that womb.”

Reeves went on to insist that fetuses should be considered “babies” at 15 weeks of age.

“Those babies at 15 weeks can feel pain,” he argued. “The difference between vaccine mandates and abortions is vaccines allow you to protect yourself. Abortions actually go in and kill other American babies.”

“But vaccines are not about yourself,” Todd interrupted. “Hang on a minute. A vaccine is about protecting a larger community. A vaccine is about preventing spread. You could argue a vaccine mandate is a pro-life position.”

“You could certainly argue that, Chuck,” Reeves agreed. “The vaccine may not keep you from getting the virus. It may not keep you from spreading the virus but it can keep you from ending up in the hospital. That’s what’s been proven during this delta surge that we’ve seen in America.”

He added: “Conversely, when you’re talking about the pro-life position of protecting unborn babies, let’s put it also in perspective, the fact is that during this very horrible and challenging time since I was sworn into office in January of 2020, Chuck, we’ve had 800,000 American lives lost because of Covid. And my heart aches for every single one of those individuals that has died because of Covid … But since Roe was enacted, 62 million American babies have been aborted and have therefore been killed.”

Watch the video below from NBC.

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‘It Is Time’: Mississippi Joins Texas in Lifting All COVID Restrictions Despite Doing Terrible Job Controlling Virus

 

 

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Marjorie Taylor Greene Is Demonstrating ‘The Depth of Power She Has Over Kevin McCarthy’: Politico Reporter

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Appearing on CNN on Saturday morning, Politico’s Rachael Bade explained that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s overwhelming desire to become the leader of a Republican Party-dominated House has put him at the mercy of the demands and whims of extremist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

As the plans for the 2022 midterm elections ramp up, and political prognosticators are saying a GOP House takeover is highly likely, McCarthy’s path to staying leader is not certain with the far-right wing of the party balking at just handing the California Republican the gavel.

As Bade explained to CNN’s Christi Paul, Taylor Green is just now starting to feel her power over McCarthy grow.

“What is the takeaway for Kevin McCarthy?” Paul asked. “Particularly, I have to point out that after last night, Marjorie Taylor Greene said she tweeted that she got off a good call with him. spent time talking about problems not only for the country. ‘I like what he has planned ahead.’ Two different — two different points of view from her and in a 24 to 48-hour period. What do you make of that?”

“Look, I think Kevin McCarthy has a really long year ahead of him,” Bade suggested. “You’re right, the midterms are far away. That vote for him to become speaker is a long way off, but Marjorie Taylor Greene is just starting to realize the depth of power she actually has over Kevin McCarthy.”

“This is a man who has wanted to be Speaker for a decade,” she continued. “He needs her vote, he needs her support in order to get the gavel. I think what you’ll be seeing for the next few months, for a year, anytime Kevin McCarthy does anything to infuriate Marjorie Taylor Greene or infuriates [Donald] Trump — they’re going to be lording it over his head.”

“He’s got this real bind right now, he’s going to be in this pickle for a very long time,” she later added.

Watch below:

 

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